After talking over our options, we decided to just hitch to Skykomish and resupply. After about 40 cars had passed we finally had one pull over and Memento and False Alarm jumped out. We hopped in and a sweet young nurse who was on her way to Mt. Baker drove us up the road to a general store. We stocked up on junk and stuffed burgers in our faces then headed back to the lodge. Charging, sock washing in a public bathroom and attempting to use slow internet commenced. Time flew by, and we kept pushing back the time we were going to leave. At 3:30, we finally got it together and headed out... To Coppertone's. He had told us Stevens Pass would be his last stop, so we had to. We walked the parking lot and didn't see him, I was pretty upset at the thought of not seeing him one last time. 11 times I've run into him. There was a mountain bike race that morning and so the lots were all pretty crowded but after a bit of searching and almost giving up, we found him! After one last ice cream treat and a final entry in his trail log, we headed back to the trail. It was late and we only did a few miles. This stretch was 107 miles of tough terrain, but oh well. We camped with Flashdance, and chatted with him for a while. The next morning we cruised, and busted out a 24 mile day in total. The days in this section were filled with big climbs and descents. My stomach was doing some weird things. And I felt slow, but still got the miles done. My gut wasn't thrilled and I didn't eat a lot at lunch. We tried to do a bit of bushwhacking after lunch but it wasn't worth it, so we backtracked a bit (I hit up a strange back country toilet on the way back to trail - Washington has these wooden boxes basically with seats that are at a lot of campsites and it saves you from digging a hole). I listened to Siddhartha in the afternoon and got a burst energy towards the final climb of the day. I cruised out in front of Whitney and got to camp with time to set up and eat while it was still light out. Did I mention the views and weather were amazing?
The next morning I got up, and just as I was almost fully packed up, it hit me. My whole body ached, my head throbbed and I couldn't tell if I was sick to my stomach, dehydrated or had a fever. I sat down but knew I had 20 miles to hike, so I pushed through. After about 40 minutes I had to stop again. Every inch of me killed. Drugs. I took everything I could think of, and continued on slowly. Very slowly. Being passed by countless other hikers. The morning was sunny and Whitney seemingly danced up ahead of me. The morning was 12 miles of hell. Beautiful meadows, sunshine, views and we even passed some horses that eased the pain from my mind temporarily. Mostly I blared music and moved slowly, trying my hardest not to dwell on the pain. It was impossible. My body felt like it was breaking down. Tears poured down my face, which only made it worse. I hate crying. I felt stupid. We took a break with an amazing view and I forced down a small snack, despite my lack of appetite. Blah. This sucks I thought to myself. Then onward some more. Again I moved slowly, was passed by more hikers and eventually got to lunch where I collapsed and didn't move for a full half hour. I knew I needed to eat, but I felt so weak. Eventually I pulled it together, made some ramen and then continued on. The afternoon dragged on and when the day was over, I was happy to just lay down. Whitney was in camp well before me and saved me. He had water filtered and a spot for my tent picked out. Once I was set up, he boiled water for me and helped me cook half of a dinner since I still had very little appetite. Every part of my body was drained. what was wrong with me?
The next day, I woke up feeling about 1000 times better. So strange. I still was moving a bit slow on the first climb of the day but the sun was beaming and as we got closer and closer to the top of the pass, the views consumed me. Once again, every where I looked was more beautiful than the view prior. We took a short break at the top of the pass and then it was down to lunch. I had a bit of an appetite again and ate some mac and cheese while our stuff dried out in the sun on a bridge over a silty creek. We read and relaxed as all of the other hikers seemed to cruise by us. Did no one stop to enjoy lunch anymore? I seemed as though people stopped, shoved food in their faces and kept running - not my style. Lunch was still my favorite part of the day - and with only 20 or so miles to hike, we made sure to take an extended lunch every day this section. After lunch, another large climb, and large decent. More views, and so much less pain. FINALLY! That evening we camped with seemingly 1000 other hikers, but Whitney and I had a nice little spot to ourselves and after dinner had a bit of time to read. 20 miles a day has left us so much time to relax, and with the weather this nice it's felt like a dream!
The day was like the previous. Ups, downs, views, reading and sunshine. Also, Washington is so big it's nice to feel like a little ant sometimes. I think it keeps me in check. So does falling in a creek at the end of the day - and soaking my shoes along with the bottom of my pack. I tend to not be so great at the ole rock hop dance across creeks that are very wide. Whatever, we would be in town the next day. The next morning I woke up early, packed up and seemingly ran to town. Stehekin in the middle of nowhere and you have to take a bus into town. The bus runs 4 times a day - so we had to make sure to time it right, and we wanted to make it into town with time to reach the post office. The morning went by quickly and I finished my second audio book of the trail - Alice In Wonderland. We got to the bus stop a bit early and waited around for a bit. When the bus showed up, mostly hikers (a few that I hadn't seen in a while) poured out of the bus, and we poured in. The bus makes a stop at a bakery on it's way into town and it felt like a Bakery from home (for those of you who know Emma Cleary's - it was almost identical). We all got treats then boarded the bus again to head into town. Once we were in town, it was a post office, shower, laundry party. We hung out with a bunch of other hikers (again only one washer/ dryer and one public shower). After an afternoon in the sun relaxing and waiting for laundry, we set up camp at a nearby campground and stuffed our faces with "mom treats". My mom sent brownies, Whitney's mom had sent chips and home made salsa, and a few other hikers had goodies as well. 5 of us sat around a picnic table for a few hours and chatted then it was dark, and we went to bed.
I woke up in the morning to a very light drizzle and packed up my stuff quickly. We took the first bus out of town and spent the morning reading and relaxing at the Bakery - with the hopes of catching Oilcan and Caveman. Stehekin is the last stop and we figured if they didn't catch us here, we wouldn't see them again.